top of page
  • Marc Primo Warren


This is an article “These are 2021’s Pandemic Colors” by Marc Primo Warren

Pantone announced Ultimate Gray and Illuminating as the Colors for 2021 in December last year. While both show a contrast that quite perfectly depict most people’s views at the moment, this year’s pandemic colors paint us a picture of how we have grown accustomed to the dullness of being in quarantine with the dependability of gray, and socially distanced with the bright hue of yellow lemon.

Ultimate Gray

It’s easy to pick Ultimate Gray for the blankets we spend most of our time in while at home or the ominous clouds that hover above as COVID-19 had rapidly set in globally. The color clearly represents our experiences of the past year which forced us into hibernation and an unclear path towards normality. It’s somehow a state of mind that most of us have shared, giving a sense of uncertainty for the future.

However, Ultimate Gray can also offer a glimmer of hope and positivity according to the global color authority with its solid and dependable elements that can signify a firm foundation. It is the color of beach pebbles and sidewalk cement that can represent stability and resilience despite any wear and tear. It somehow serves as a restore point that blends well with Illuminating to exude how endurance should go in harmony with strength and hope.


Each time Pantone unveils its Color of the Year, brands from various industries are immediately keen on integrating them with their ads. This also goes to show how for over two decades, each color from Pantone’s annual search has been helpful in influencing consumers in their purchasing decisions especially when it comes to design or fashion.

With Illuminating going with Ultimate Gray as this year’s main tag team colors to go with when it comes to creating new design elements that can perfectly encapsulate the current mood of the global public, many might wonder which should be the more dominant of the two. For designs that aim to exude warmth and a welcoming feel to everyday things such as linens, sunflowers in a vase, or living room curtains, Illuminating is perfect to bring some sunlight into the home.


No doubt, these year’s colors will surely make their way to thousands of homes around the world whether in furniture, television, or other consumer products out there. This is because Pantone has always been known to partner with some big name brands such as Adobe which help proliferate the featured colors. Of course, big tech also relies on Pantone with their annual smartphone designs since marketers also know that 85% of consumers are influenced by colors.

But while some have found the combination to be a bit weird and unusual, designs that are created with a dominant Illuminating complemented by minimal hints of Ultimate Gray works well in balancing out all of our current feelings as we face more uncertainties from this global pandemic.

On the other hand, experimenting with a more dominant gray further highlights the contrast of the two colors creating a somewhat nostalgic yet modern ambiance that’s reminiscent of Warhol or even Van Gogh. Illuminating-colored furniture works well against an Ultimate Gray wallpaper for both office or home space, while chic casual wear for both men and women can also turn heads by putting an Illuminating sweater on top and pairing it with Ultimate Gray slacks.

Regardless of which color takes center stage on a design piece, both can definitely stand firm and convey their respective significance to the times, as well as the unique beauty that they can create together.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page